I know a lot of adults who have problems ensuring that vegetables form a part of their daily diet but when it comes to kids, inducing them to eat their vegetables can often be quite challenging. Nutritionists like me have been recommending vegetable smoothies as an ideal way to introduce vegetables into your children’s diet but I know it’s easier said than done. Healthy eating habits for children are important so let me throw some light on a few secrets to vegetable smoothie making for children and adults alike.
Secrets to vegetable smoothies for kids
- Normally, when making a vegetable smoothie I would recommend a ratio of 6:4 i.e. six portions of fruit and 4 portions of vegetables. If your kids are going to partake of the smoothie, you should change the ratio to 7:3 i.e. 70% fruit and 30% vegetables.
- Lightly blanch the vegetables in boiling water; this will take out the roughness found in certain vegetables. Some vegetables that are a bit tough to digest can be pre-steamed.
- Feel free to use or experiment with Easter spices such as Pepper, Cardamom, and Cinnamon.
- If you find the flavors a bit too strong, feel free to add a drop of mint flavor or any other natural extract that your child loves.
- Instead of water, use full cream milk or full cream yogurt (avoid papaya when using milk or yogurt).
- For best results always use fresh vegetables and fruit. Unless you have no alternative, never use anything from a tin. Fruits and vegetables have anti-oxidants, a vital ingredient for lovely skin and staying young. Unfortunately, these anti-oxidants begin to leak into the air the moment the fruits and vegetables are chopped. So you can imagine a can of diced or sliced pineapple will have zero anti-oxidants. Same applies to pre-cut and packaged veggies.
- Wash and cut your vegetables and fruit just before they are put into the blender and once the smoothie is ready, induce your kids to drink up immediately. To be useful, the anti-oxidants need to oxidize in the stomach and not while sitting in the blender or storage container.
- You do not have to tell your kids what vegetables you’ve used. Just say you’ve used your grandmother’s secret ingredients 😉
- After you pour the smoothie into a glass, top it with chocolate flavored corn flakes or crushed almonds or crushed non-salted peanuts or pistachios or any other nut favored by your kids. If you have run out of nuts, a tablespoonful of Applesauce spread in a circle will do quite nicely.
When it comes to my own kids I am quite happy to use the above techniques just to ensure that each of them have at least two cups of vegetables a day (via two tall glasses of vegetable smoothies).